Friday, July 02, 2004

Church Alternatives to Halloween Parties

Whether or not we think Halloween satanic (I don't), it is indisputable that the costumes and themes are now amazingly vile, expensive, and without any redeeming entertainment value. Yet Trick-or-Treat seems to be so firmly imbedded in our culture that children feel deprived if not allowed to participate.

We can bite the bullet and refuse to participate, or we can try to modify the celebrations to serve benign ends.

Children like candy and parties, like dressing up, and like being a bit weird. We can accomodate them.

Imagine a church party celebrating the saints and martyrs of history. Different aged children have different parties, of course. The youngest kids get “bathrobe and prop” costumes and act out scenes like David and Goliath (whiffle-ball slingshot?) or Samson with the jawbone of an ass or Gideon. (I grant there might be an issue finding volunteers to be Philistines, who only get to be defeated.) The altar faceoff between Elijah and the priests of Baal could get nice and noisy.

Do we have enough women? Most don't seem to have distinctive enough costumes. This may well prove a show-stopper.

Older children could pick from the saints and martyrs, and tell their stories when called on. St. Sebastian would be nice and popular (stuck full of arrows), but costumes might prove a bit undistinctive in general. This requires a greater emphasis on the stories—can we work on story-telling skills here?